The topic for this month is "Strong Will". I've found great success when I apply Master Ou’s emphasis on the importance of a strong will as I negotiate life with rheumatoid arthritis. In Chapter 27 on page 100 in VI of The Path of Life, Pangu says to Master Ou:
"How can I call you a strong willed person when you become disheartened and give up so easily when encountering such a small difficulty? Please keep in mind that for the wonderful future of humanity you should strengthen your back and do your utmost to carry on with the difficult task of "self-tempering." His voice was kind and encouraging. Strange to say, all of the sudden a kind of unbending courage surged up from my heart; I know not why or how. "All right," [Master Ou] said, I must and definitely will keep up with your steps--for the freedom and happiness of all humankind."
When I observe wild animals fighting every day for food, I’m also inspired by their innate strength and determination. Living with strong will is all they know! This past November, I had a close view of an osprey hunting while displaying its strong will at Anne’s Beach, in Islamorada Key, Florida.
Just to my right, It circled around intently looking down at the water –about twenty yards away above a tidal flat. It dropped lower and lower, riding the wind and looking straight down. It didn’t pay any attention at all to me or my dog. Anticipation filled the air, as I waited to see what the bird would do next. I could feel that it was about to make a move. It hovered and expertly flapped its wings, tightening itself into a bird bomb contracting its wings making it look like the letter W, while almost stationary, about 10 yards above the water. Then –Boom! Down it dropped, talons first, colliding bravely with the water. It made quite a splash and quickly came back up a few feet from the water’s surface, but it hadn’t caught a fish.
The osprey had to work hard to fly back up--it was now heavier, since it was soaking wet. It was doing what seemed like bird push-ups with its wings, from the surface of the water to back up in the air where it belonged. Again the osprey hovered above the water, flapping its wings and managing to stay in about the same spot, just to my right. Now it was taking the time to dry off while flying stationary in the air. I stared, awestruck, as it was still flying in the air, yet stationary, while flapping its wings, quickly, and somehow shaking too. It repeated the strong, flapping shakes about three times. Then it went back into hunter mode. The osprey continued to scan the water, making itself the bombing W again. Then, boom, down it went, slamming itself straight into the water. It came back up again with no fish. The process repeated itself. Soaking wet bird push-ups, in-air flappy shake off, water scanning, then, boom--another slam into the water –but no fish.
After this series of failures, another smaller osprey came flying along. The two birds had a midair tangle while the one I had been watching began defending its territory. The smaller osprey thought it was sneakily attacking when the other osprey had expended so much energy hunting. However, it underestimated the great strength of the hunting osprey. They flew low, circling each other, then the larger one came at the smaller one –talons first. Boom! They collided, causing them to stay intertwined while flying in a circle. When the bigger osprey released the smaller one, it quickly flew away.
Then, the determined hunter, despite or, perhaps, out of spite of the mid-air fight, began hunting again, but to no avail. Bang! It torpedoed itself down and was unsuccessful— AGAIN. After this fourth failure, it flew off into the trees where I saw it drying itself off, shaking and flapping, while taking a rest. I felt bad for it. It had expended so much energy and was obviously quite good at hunting, but had failed repeatedly. However, pushing forward with its strong will, the osprey flew back near me right where it had been hunting before. After a quick scan, the osprey immediately torpedoed itself into the water yet again. It instantly lifted itself up out of the water, successful this time. The osprey had finally caught a fish! Smiling and feeling like I had victoriously just caught my lunch as well, I followed the triumphant bird with my eyes as it flew in wide circles above the water with its catch. After the victory lap, it flew to the top of a tree to the left of where it was fishing. It sped away so fast, flapping its wide wings only a few times, easily propelling itself to its destination in the trees to eat its catch.
I thanked the osprey, the fish, and beautiful Anne’s Beach for this great lesson in strength, trusting one’s abilities, determination, and the significance of a strong will. Look around; you are constantly being given signs on how to succeed at life as well.
Children's Literature - Magical Realism, Nature, Spirituality, Qi Gong #ownvoices.